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Nebraska Women’s Basketball Prepares to Take on Another No. 2 Team at Ohio State

by Feb 13, 2024Nebraska Womens Basketball

Nebraska Cornhuskers celebrates Jaz Shelley's go ahead three point shot against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the fourth quarter during a college basketball game on Sunday, February 11, 2024, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Photo by John S. Peterson.
Photo Credit: John Peterson

Fresh off an upset against the No. 2 team in the country, Nebraska women’s basketball’s next task is to try and do it again. 

The Huskers knocked off Caitlin Clark and Iowa at home on Sunday behind a double-digit comeback in the fourth quarter. It was a monumental feat, and an important one for the team’s postseason hopes and place in the Big Ten standings

There isn’t all that much time to celebrate, however, as Nebraska will now travel to play Ohio State on Wednesday. The Buckeyes have won 11 straight and replaced the Hawkeyes at No. 2 in the AP Top 25. 

Ohio State may boast one of the most complete starting lineups in the nation. All five starters average at least 9.5 points per game, with three in double-digits. The Buckeyes were one of two teams, along with Nebraska, to land two players among the 10 on the preseason All-Big Ten team. 

Fifth-year guard Jacy Sheldon is the team’s top scorer, averaging 17.6 points per game on 50.2% shooting. She also leads the team in assists and steals. 

Perhaps even more threatening than the well-rounded guard is sophomore forward Cotie McMahon, last season’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year. McMahon put up 33 points in the team’s win over Iowa, and was a big factor in last year’s run to the Elite Eight. 

Her season stats of 13.8 points per game and 6.5 rebounds might not be overwhelming, and she’s had a number of single-digit showings, but McMahon is still difficult to stop when she gets going. 

Taylor Thierry (11.9 points per game), Celeste Taylor (9.8) and Rebeka Mikulasikova (9.6) fill out the rest of the starting lineup. Thierry leads the team in free-throw attempts and is ridiculously efficient, shooting 61.9% from the field and knocking down 12 of her 23 3-point attempts this season. 

Mikulasikova, a fifth-year center, scored 25 points in Ohio State’s win over Nebraska a year ago. She went 3-for-4 from three in that game and is shooting nearly 40% from deep this season. 

Beyond the team’s bevy of offensive threats, the Huskers will look to overcome the opponent’s defensive pressure. Ohio State is first in the conference in forced turnovers, with four starters averaging at least a steal per game and Sheldon and Taylor each averaging two in the backcourt.

Nebraska’s had troubles here and there handling the full-court press, and Ohio State may look to take advantage. It’ll be worth watching Darian White’s health for this reason, as she toughed out 10 minutes against Iowa in returning from a leg injury. 

If there is an area where the Huskers can take advantage, it’s on the glass. Ohio State is 12th in the Big Ten in rebounding, while Nebraska is second. All three teams to beat the Buckeyes this year pulled down double-digit offensive boards. 

Michigan grabbed 10 offensive rebounds in becoming the only Big Ten team to beat Ohio State this year, though it only put up three second-chance points. It won that game by outscoring the Buckeyes 27-15 in the final period of play. 

As is typically the case with an opponent of this caliber, Nebraska’s going to have to be locked in on both ends to have a shot at taking down the Buckeyes.  

Other notes: 

>> With beating a top-two team comes increased attention. Nebraska’s upset win over Iowa was the most-watched women’s college basketball game in FOX history, drawing over 1.7 million viewers. 

Since, Jaz Shelley has been named AP National Player of the Week and Big Ten Player of the Week. She had a good week — dropping 23 points in the win over Iowa — but clearly got a boost due to the significance of the victory. She beat out players like Iowa’s Hannah Stuelke, who scored 47 points against Penn State, and Indiana’s Chloe Moore-McNeil, who followed up a triple-double with an efficient 22-point game during a quality 2-0 week. 

Natalie Potts shared the league’s freshman of the week honors with Purdue’s Mary Ashley Stevenson, who had a better statistical week. The Boilermakers were blown out by Indiana on Sunday, however.

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